Plant Database forum: Measurement units; inches versus cm..

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Name: Myriam
Ghent, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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bonitin
Apr 12, 2012 7:50 AM CST
I realize I'm given more work to the moderators by filling in Plant heights in cm, as that is what I know, sometimes there can be created confusing info like on the data info of Iris siberica where I just noticed that Plant height is given in inches while the Plant spread given in cm..
Species Iris (Iris sibirica)
Anybody any ideas on this?
Name: Myriam
Ghent, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Ferns Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
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bonitin
Apr 12, 2012 8:33 AM CST
Forgot to say that the same counts for Gallons versus Liters.. Rolling my eyes.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Apr 12, 2012 8:58 AM CST
bonitin said:I realize I'm given more work to the moderators by filling in Plant heights in cm, as that is what I know, sometimes there can be created confusing info like on the data info of Iris siberica where I just noticed that Plant height is given in inches while the Plant spread given in cm..
Species Iris (Iris sibirica)
Anybody any ideas on this?


I agree, the same unit of measure would make more sense. My guess is that 2 different people entered the data maybe?

I guess the metric system is used in most countries. In the U.S. though, most folks are resistant to it's use. While conversion charts are readily available online, I think forcing metric measurement in the database would discourage a lot of Americans from entering the data at all. Any many visitors might not find that user-friendly either.

Most of our members do seem to be in the U.S.

Karen

Name: Margaret
Delta KY
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Mindy03
Apr 12, 2012 9:03 AM CST
Perhaps Dave could set it to show both measurements like he did for the zone field?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Apr 12, 2012 10:21 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

In the case of these text fields (where you can type whatever you want) I don't have the same level of control like I do in the zone field (which is a pulldown).

I think all we can do is standardize on the use of inches instead of centimeters.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Apr 12, 2012 12:21 PM CST

Plants Admin

I tend to navigate away from websites using metric and look for ones using inches and feet, but I appreciate the value and appeal of metric measurements. When members propose data in metric for my sections of the database, I convert them to inches and feet and keep the metric measurements in parentheses. I can't envision myself doing the opposite and adding the metric measurements unless they're provided to me, however.
Name: Myriam
Ghent, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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bonitin
Apr 12, 2012 12:50 PM CST
I convert them to inches and feet and keep the metric measurements in parentheses
I have noticed that Zuzu, thank you!

It would be ideal if both measurements could be included, the use of inches as standard and centimeters in parentheses is very fine and would please to everyone, all over the world if the aim of ATP is to be truly international.. Smiling
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Apr 12, 2012 1:00 PM CST

Plants Admin

You can start adding them anytime, Myriam. Green Grin!
Name: Myriam
Ghent, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Ferns Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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bonitin
Apr 12, 2012 2:34 PM CST
Mindy03 said:Perhaps Dave could set it to show both measurements like he did for the zone field?


This is really what I mean Zuzu Green Grin!
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Apr 12, 2012 2:54 PM CST
zuzu said:I tend to navigate away from websites using metric and look for ones using inches and feet.


I wonder if this is the same for many who use metric? If metric users feel uncomfortable with Imperial measurements they are likely to do the same, which is a pity.

Now, galloms are another thing. In the US it seems standard to use gallons for pot sizes, but those are probably not gallons? Then of course we have the US gallon, and the Imperial gallon. Not only that, the US has a liquid as well as a dry gallon!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallon

I think it would make the database more universal if both could be included, but that's something for Dave to consider if it can easily be done.

Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
Apr 12, 2012 3:13 PM CST
Perhaps having a converter conveniently on the page would make it easier? Either to add a conversion or just to see the size in a familiar measure. I know it is hard to change, Canadians have done it in about a generation but there are still lots who have a better sense of one than the other. I've had to convert to metric since I retired and moved to Mexico, most is pretty easy but temperature is not a simple conversion. I'm comfortable with kilometers, liters, cm and kilos but I had to just start over and learn my personal comfort levels in centigrade rather than convert. I still will sometimes look at a conversion to fahrenheit just because it gives me a better idea.

I think that both sides of the argument have good points, the world is mainly metric but no one should be forced to convert from something that is comfortable. If the US continues to want to stay with their unique system of measure, then they should. If I were voting on it, I'd say the US should take its time and convert over the next generation as Canada seems to have done. It doesn't matter to kids, they learn what is taught to them and then they are comfortable with it. Start in the schools and let the older generations keep their measures, maybe have both on everything for awhile.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Apr 12, 2012 4:17 PM CST
Jonna, you make it sound so simple. Rational. Easy.

Remember, we are Americans! We don't do "easy". We make everything a big deal. As proof, I offer the U.S. tax code. Rolling on the floor laughing
It will take an act of congress, and heaven knows that bunch never agrees on anything. Hilarious! And if they do agree on it, new taxes to "fund" the change would probably be initiated. Hilarious!

In all honesty, I was taught the metric system as a kid. I never remembered anything because if you don't use it, you lose it.

Karen
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Apr 12, 2012 4:50 PM CST

Plants Admin

I knew what you meant, Myriam. I was just being silly. Smiling

A conversion chart on the page or a link on each page to a central conversion chart is a good idea, Jonna.
Name: Myriam
Ghent, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Ferns Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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bonitin
Apr 13, 2012 2:53 AM CST
Thank you all for your input! Smiling

Would it be a good idea to create a pulldown field like for the zones? inches as standard and cm in parantheses, if this is doable?
A conversion chart on the page might be good too..

I was amazed to see how many different things a gallon can mean, shown on the link Janet gave!! How very complicated and confusing!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallon

JRsbugs said:

I wonder if this is the same for many who use metric? If metric users feel uncomfortable with Imperial measurements they are likely to do the same, which is a pity.

It think that is likely the case..
[Last edited by bonitin - Apr 13, 2012 2:56 AM (+)]
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Apr 13, 2012 6:28 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

bonitin said:Would it be a good idea to create a pulldown field like for the zones? inches as standard and cm in parantheses, if this is doable?.


That's certainly available as an option, but what would the choices in the pulldown be?

Many plants have ranges ("7-12 inches"). I can't represent every possible value in a pulldown, which is why we made it a text field to begin with.
Name: Myriam
Ghent, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Ferns Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
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bonitin
Apr 13, 2012 11:16 AM CST
Thanks Dave, yes I understand it would be impossible to represent every possible value into a pulldown menu. But maybe rounded up figures would do, heights of plants can be very variable too according to growing conditions...

Maybe something like this..with the corresponding centimeters between parentheses

1 - 3 inches
3 - 10 inches
10 - 20 inches
20- 30 inches
30- 40 inches
40- 50 inches
50-60 inches
60-70 inches
70-80 inches
80-90 inches
90-100 inches
I think there are not many taller than that except the trees of course!
And there could be the possibility to cross on more than one for the same plant..


A pull-down menu would be more handy to fill in too I think..

Name: Myriam
Ghent, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Ferns Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
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bonitin
Apr 13, 2012 11:33 AM CST
Ooh I forgot the climbing plants! Rolling my eyes.
maybe there could beside the pulldown menu also be a possibility to fill in manually?
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Apr 13, 2012 11:55 AM CST

Plants Admin

I'm leery of a pull-down menu simply because much of the information entered will be inaccurate unless there are two pull-downs each for height and width. A conversion function, if possible, would be valuable. The American Iris Society lists heights of Iris in Imperial with metric in parenthesis and I've followed that example going forward. Perhaps we could discuss appropriate equivalents as I've noticed centimeters are usually rounded to the nearest multiple of 5. Is this correct?
Evan
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Apr 13, 2012 11:59 AM CST

Plants Admin

Myriam, your breakdown wouldn't work because we don't think in terms of inches after the first 24 or so. Many roses, for instance, are 3-4 feet tall. Breaking that down into inches (36 to 48) would necessitate the use of two of your categories, and might sound too vague, not to mention being inaccurate as it would imply that these roses are 30-50 inches tall -- too broad a range to be helpful. It also might be just as big a deterrent to using our database, because people would have to convert those inches to feet in their mind.

Unless someone wants to manually add the metric measurements in parentheses to 500,000+ plants at this stage, and I doubt that anyone will, a conversion key seems to be the only answer.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
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extranjera
Apr 13, 2012 1:05 PM CST
Conversion widgets are easy and fast to use, I have one on my desktop and use it when I need more than an approximate idea. People wouldn't need it just to read about the plant and it would be there if they decided they wanted more exact info. I have approximate exchanges in my head, 1 inch is about 2.5 cm, 4 inches is 10cm, 6 miles is 10 km, a kilo is 2.2 lbs, I can remember those and get an approximation. For accuracy, you need a converter. I don't see that it makes sense to convert everything, just give folks an easy way to do it themselves.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

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